The Black-capped Petrel or Diablotin Pterodroma hasitata has a fragmented and declining population estimated at c.1,000 breeding pairs. On land, the species nests underground in steep ravines with dense understorey vegetation. The only confirmed breeding sites are located in the mountain ranges of Hispaniola in the Caribbean, where habitat loss and degradation are continuing threats. Other nesting populations may still remain undiscovered but, to locate them, laborious in situ nest searches must be conducted over expansive geographical areas. To focus nest-search efforts more efficiently, we analysed the environmental characteristics of Black-capped Petrel nesting habitat and modeled suitable habitat on Hispaniola using openly available environmental datasets. We used a univariate generalized linear model to compare the habitat characteristics of active Black-capped Petrel nests sites with those of potentially available sites (i.e. random pseudo-absences). Elevation, distance to coast, and the influence of tree cover and density emerged as important environmental variables. We then applied multivariate generalized linear models to these environmental variables that showed a significant relationship with petrel nesting activity. We used the top performing model of habitat suitability model to create maps of predicted suitability for Hispaniola. In addition to areas of known petrel activity, the model identified possible nesting areas for Black-capped Petrels in habitats not previously considered suitable. Based on model results, we estimated the total area of predicted suitable nesting habitat for Black-capped Petrels on Hispaniola and found that forest loss due to hurricanes, forest fires, and encroachment from agriculture had severely decreased availability of predicted suitable habitat between 2000 and 2018.
|Title||Habitat modelling locates nesting areas of the endangered Black-capped Petrel Pterodroma hasitata on Hispaniola and identifies habitat loss|
|Authors||Y. G. Satgé, E. Rupp, A. J. Brown, Patrick Jodice|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Bird Conservation International|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Coop Res Unit Atlanta|